Prematurity Awareness Month, How You Can Help

By: KKCO Email
By: KKCO Email

On 11 News Today the Buckovic Family and local Dr. Kate Richmond came in to discuss premature birth, and what the newly released report card released by the March of Dimes means for Colorado.

Dawn and Bill Buckovic and their daughters Anna and Bella were willing to share how prematurity has affected their family. Their youngest daughter Anna was born 16 weeks prematurely in December of 2007. Anna spent months in neonatal intensive care. Bill, a mining executive and world traveler, considers himself to be pretty tough. But, he found coping with his tiny, defenseless daughter to be the biggest challenge he had ever faced. Anna fought through countless treatments and surgeries to survive. After months of care, she was released from the hospital around the time of what was supposed to be her original birthday.

Dr. Kate Richmond was Anna’s doctor in the St. Mary’s NICU. Dr. Richmond also serves as a March of Dimes spokesperson and was able to explain a bit more what the newly released report card means for Colorado. The state received a letter grade of “D” on the report card. To determine the grade, Colorado’s premature birth rate of 12.3% was compared to the Healthy People 2010 goal of 7.6%. The nation as a whole also received a “D” with an overall premature birth rate of 12.7%. No state received an “A”, Vermont had the highest grade with a “B”.

The March of Dimes report card also analyzes the rates of factors that contribute to premature birth but that may be prevented. For the state of Colorado these include: smoking among women of childbearing age (19.8%), absence of health insurance for women (21%), and late preterm births (8.9%, 34-36 weeks of pregnancy). The report card also notes that between 1995 and 2005 Colorado’s premature birth rate increased 15%.

Actions the report card states that can be taken to improve premature birth rates are: increased federal spending for prematurity prevention medical research, expanded access to health coverage for women, quit smoking programs as a part of maternity care, timing of elective c-sections and inductions consistent with guidelines of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and workplaces that support good health for moms and babies.

The report card also encourages all Americans to sign an online petition that will be shared with government, health and business leaders. From Coloradans, the March of Dimes homes to capture 8,746 signatures, that’s the average number of babies born prematurely in the state each year.

To sign the petition, click the link below this story.

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